Having had enough, they dragged him out of the city. Infuriated by what he had just said, their rage consumed their reasoning as each man picked up the nearest stone he could find. Although the words Stephen had just spoken were truth in all its essence, the pride in protecting their position and “calling from God” compelled them to eliminate any threat to their power.
As Stephen lay on the dusty ground, the Pharisees prepared to stone him. Not wanting to stain their coats with blood, they took them off and laid it down next to a young man named Saul who was reclining next to the city gate. Now curiously getting to his feet, Saul watched intently at the scene that unfolded before him.
Saul had heard of Stephen and his miraculous signs and wonders. But just like the Pharisees, he saw this so-called man of God as simply a lunatic who claimed to be filled with the Spirit of God. There were many stories of how people were healing the sick in the name of a man named Jesus. However Saul was convinced that this Jesus couldn’t be the messiah, after all; the messiah would appear in power and glory.
“Stephen told them that they deliberately disobeyed God’s law, even though they received it from the hands of angels.” A man close by said to a passer-by. Stephen, now on his feet gazed up into the sky, his face shone brightly with joy like a child about to open his Christmas present. The first stone flung onto his stomach. Thereafter a flood of stones rained onto Stephen’s exposed body. Each Pharisees, with a face consumed with fury grabbed every stone their hands could reach and threw it at Stephen.
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Stephen shouted as his knees hit the floor. With his last breath and as more stones smashed him, he gave one last shout unto heaven, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” The Pharisees finally calmed down when they realised that his limp collapsed bloody body was now lifeless. Saul gazed keenly at the violent act in complete agreement, now satisfied that there was one less person blaspheming the law of God.
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